Following a sold-out UFC 179 event last October, the Octagon will return to the Ginasio do Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday, March 21, with the pivotal bantamweight bout between top contenders Urijah Faber and Raphael Assuncao to headline the FOX Sports 1-televised card.
Tickets for the event go on sale on Wednesday, February 4 at www.livepass.com.br
Also featured will be a co-main event in the welterweight division, as Brazilian star Demian Maia faces unbeaten New Yorker Ryan LaFlare.
In other bouts made official by the UFC Thursday, former Strikeforce champion Josh “The Punk” Thomson battles unbeaten Brazilian phenom Gilbert “Durinho” Burns, Ben Saunders meets Erick Silva in an explosive welterweight showdown, lightweight veteran Matt Wiman squares off with Leonardo Santos, and in a pair of 155-pound matches, Cain Carrizosa faces Leonardo Mafra, and Drew Dober takes on Leandro “Buscape” Silva.
A pioneer of the lighter weight classes, former WEC featherweight champion and current UFC bantamweight contender Urijah Faber has never lost a non-title fight in his 11-year pro career. Coming off back-to-back victories over Alex Caceres and Francisco Rivera, the number three ranked “California Kid” hopes to earn another crack at the 135-pound crown with a win over Georgia-based Brazilian Assuncao, owner of a seven-fight winning streak that has seen him defeat the likes of Bryan Caraway, Mike Easton, and the man at the top of the division, T.J. Dillashaw.
Currently sporting a 4-2 record in his run at welterweight, former middleweight title challenger Demian Maia is fresh from a May 2014 victory over Alexander Yakovlev in his hometown of Sao Paulo. In Long Island, New York’s LaFlare, Maia will face a rising star whose unbeaten slate includes four UFC wins over Benny Alloway, Santiago Ponzinibbio, Court McGee and John Howard.
Before an injury to champion Anthony Pettis, Josh Thomson was scheduled to challenge for the lightweight crown in late-2013. Following that cancelled bout, “The Punk” lost two controversial decisions to Benson Henderson and Bobby Green, leaving him with the desire to take the judges out of the equation against Rio de Janeiro’s own Burns, a talented groundfighter who owns UFC victories over Andreas Stahl and Christos Giagos.
Two of the most exciting welterweights in the UFC will meet up on March 21, when former Ultimate Fighter competitor Ben “Killa B” Saunders puts his current two-fight UFC winning streak on the line against Vila Velha’s Erick Silva, who earned Performance of the Night honors in December for his 75-second submission of Mike Rhodes.
Stay tuned to UFC.com for more fight announcements.